Behind the Build: Sandie Kanakes
From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.
In this installment of “Behind the Build,” we introduce Sandie Kanakes, the current sales manager at the Farmingdale Village community in Woodridge. Known for her upbeat, gregarious personality, Sandie began working in the construction sales field in 1978 before joining Gallagher and Henry in 1999.
What do you most enjoy about working for Gallagher and Henry?
Each day is a little different because we are so hands-on with our customers. We’re a family-owned business that is set up to treat people like family, and that leads to some very personal and genuine relationships with our homebuyers.
And what do those relationships mean to you?
The homebuyers are our lifeblood. We “live” with them for months at a time while their home is under construction. I am answering questions about the process, offering different perspectives or things to consider, and helping them navigate an experience that can be daunting. When they are selecting the items for their home – options, materials, colors, and the like – I am right there with them, too, which remains my favorite part.
I’ve had customers get married or have babies during the construction process. You really feel like a close relative at times like that. I remember when one of my customers found out she was having triplets while her home was being built. We were together so often putting the pieces of that home together that I was right alongside her on that pregnancy journey. I will never forget how she and her husband stopped by with those precious babies on their way home from the hospital. The scary part is that since I’ve been with Gallagher and Henry for more than 20 years, I’ve seen a good number of those babies learn to drive, graduate from high school, and grow beards.
What is the most interesting or bold request you have ever fielded from a buyer?
I don’t think any request is necessarily all that interesting or unusual. When our buyers ask for something, it’s because it’s something important to them. When that happens, I only want to do my part to fulfill that request, so they have what they want in their new home.
How would you characterize the experience of working 20-plus years in this multi-generational family business?
The years have pretty much flown by and the business has continued to progress and move forward. We have endured the economy’s ups and downs and seen trends come and go, yet always kept our focus on the buyers. Things get done a little differently at Gallagher and Henry because the company leaders, from co-founder Bob Gallagher down to the current leadership, are visiting the communities and sales offices routinely. It’s personal for them and it shows in the quality they demand of themselves and others.
What do you think differentiates Gallagher and Henry from other homebuilders?
There’s not a lot of waste at Gallagher and Henry and we all do a little more than our titles suggest. I’ve swept floors, washed windows, and put the trash cans out at night because I have pride in our work and our homes like so many others in the company, a number of whom have been here much longer than me. That pride in what we do, that commitment to quality, is one of the key reasons Gallagher and Henry has so many repeat buyers and generations of buyers.
When you’re not at the sales office, what might we find you doing?
I try to garden, but I am really bad at it. I am a terrible cook, too, but I am planning to take a cooking course. I do enjoy reading biographies – just finished Last Man Standing about JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon – and enjoy arts and culture. Sports bore me, but take me to the Civic Opera House, the Art Institute, or the Field Museum any day.